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Judge sets date to resume Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s contempt-of-court hearings

PHOENIX — Contempt-of-court hearings against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe
Arpaio were scheduled to resume in late September to examine the lawman’s
acknowledged violations of a judge’s orders in a racial profiling case.

U.S. District Judge Murray Snow on Monday denied Arpaio’s request to put the
contempt case on hold while the sheriff’s office asks an appeals court to
disqualify the judge from the case.

Ten days ago, Snow rejected Arpaio’s argument that he was biased because he
posed questions about two secret investigations involving the judge that were
done on the sheriff’s behalf.

The contempt hearings began in April, but Arpaio’s
disqualification request put the case on hold for two months.

“We need to move forward. We need to correct anything that’s problematic and
resolve this case,” Snow said.

The contempt hearings are set to resume on Sept. 22 through 25 and Sept. 29
through Oct. 2.

The judge also approved a request from the U.S. Justice Department for
documents that were given to Arpaio’s office by a confidential informant hired
by the agency in a secret investigations involving Snow.

Snow has said the investigation in question was intended to show an alleged
conspiracy between him and federal authorities who are pressing a separate civil
rights lawsuit against Arpaio.

Arpaio, who in the past has been accused of
retaliating against his critics, insisted there were no investigations of Snow.

Some documents sought by the Justice Department have been publicly released and
show that the sheriff’s office was pushing the confidential informant for
information to back up his claims about the conspiracy on the eve of the April
contempt hearings.

Two years ago, in a case pushed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Snow
dealt Arpaio one of his toughest legal blows by ruling the sheriff’s officers
had racially profiled Latinos.

Earlier this year, Snow launched a contempt case against Arpaio for the
sheriff’s acknowledged violations of court orders, including letting officers
conduct immigration patrols for 18 months after being ordered to stop them.

Last week, the Justice Department and Arpaio agreed to settle the separate
civil rights case.

The settlement resolved the Justice Department’s allegations that Arpaio’s
office retaliated against the sheriff’s critics, discriminated against Latinos
in business raids targeting identity theft by immigrants and punishing Latino
jail inmates with limited English skills for speaking Spanish.